Return to Transcripts main page


White House Targets ESPN Anchor; Terror Attack in Britain; North Korea Missile Test. Aired 3-3:30p ET

Aired September 15, 2017 - 15:00   ET



BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome back, top of the hour. You're watching CNN. I'm Brooke Baldwin. Thank you for being with me here on this Friday.

I got can tell you that, right now, the U.N. Security Council is holding an emergency meeting after a new show of defiance by North Korea. The North firing yet another ballistic missile.

And in case you are not keeping count, in the five weeks since President Trump made threats of fire and fury, North Korea has fired two missiles and conducted a nuclear test,this latest missile flying over Northern Japan. That is the sound of sirens ringing out warning Japanese fishes officials to take cover.

And in response, the White House is assuring the world there is a military option.


NIKKI HALEY, U.S. AMBASSADOR TO THE UNITED NATIONS: What we are seeing is, they continue to be provocative, they continue to be reckless. And at that point, there's not a whole lot the Security Council is going to be able to do from here, when you have cut 90 percent of the trade and 30 percent of the oil.

So, having said that, I have no problem kicking it to General Mattis because I think he has plenty of options.

JAMES MATTIS, U.S. SECRETARY OF DEFENSE: What is different about this approach is, is that we're out of time, right? Ambassador Haley said before we have been kicking the can down the road, and we are out of road.

And so for those who have said and have been commenting about the lack of a military option, there is a military option. Now, it is not what we prefer to do.


BALDWIN: Let's go to Will Ripley, who has been in Pyongyang many, many times.

He's live now for us in Tokyo. What is the response from where you are?

WILL RIPLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, look, the discussions about a military option are certainly troubling for those in the region who are keenly aware of the three million people who died in three years of fighting during the Korean War.

A military option against North Korea even without nuclear weapons factored into the equation could potentially be catastrophic in terms of loss of life, property. This is a country that has a standing army of about million people. In the reserves, add them off, it's about six million people. They probably have about 10 million people in the population who have served in the military who are ready to fight.

So, yes, the United States continues to reiterate there's a military option. And it's true. The United States vastly outguns North Korea. But North Korea has a lot of conventional weapons. They can do a lot of damage and kill a lot of people. And they have an increasingly sophisticated nuclear arsenal and they know that.

And that's why they continue to conduct these missile tests, these provocative missile tests, firing missiles twice over Northern Japan. Imagine being a parent in Hokkaido and for the second time in around two weeks having to explain to your children why the air raid sirens are going off and why the phones are lighting up with messages telling them to seek shelter and why the kids in school have to have missile drills and learn about what to do in the event of a nuclear attack.

Duck and cover. It is reminiscent of the Cold War. And in Japan, it cuts deeper because they still are scarred with memories of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. And now for the first time since World War II, air raid sirens are going off here.

South Korea doing what they can. They fired their own ballistic missiles about six minutes later. One of the missiles failed. They tried to see if those missiles could launch the North Korean launch sites, but the bottom line remains, Brooke, that it's a very, very difficult situation out here.

And these sanctions, at least so far, because there have been round after round increasingly heavy sanctions, but I can tell you, I was in Pyongyang last week. There are more cars on the road than ever, the store shelves are full, people are -- have cell phones and electronics and seem perfectly content.

In fact, they say their living standards have gone up despite these sanctions. And the North Korean economy grew by almost 4 percent last year, according to South Korean Central Bank estimates.

Will these sanctions be the ones to completely change the equation? Maybe, but North Korea says even if things get tough, they are not giving up the nuclear weapons. They feel that will give them leverage, respect and a seat at the table from a position of strength down the road.

And they are certainly not going to give that up. Their whole national identity is centered around these nuclear weapons.

BALDWIN: You would know, as, again, you have been there so, so many times. You are fascinating just to follow on Instagram, let alone, I can't imagine how interesting this documentary will be today.

Let's just remind everyone this is Will Ripley looking inside North Korea. This is this exclusive look, "Secret State: Inside North Korea." It airs tonight on CNN 10:00 Eastern. We will get you a preview in just a bit.

Meantime, let's go to Tom Foreman, who as been taking count of the North's stockpile of weapons.


Tom, what are you finding?

TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: They are on an absolutely record- shattering pace in terms of missile tests this year.

And you only need to look at one graphic to understand what we're talking about here. Go back to Kim Jong-un's grandfather, Kim Il- Sung. During his time in office, with their modern missile program getting started, 15 total tests.

Come forward to his son here, Kim Jong Il, and it moves up a tiny bit. There, they went to 16 total tests, but it was still a program that excited concern, but it wasn't really exploding. But now look at what is happening under Kim Jong-un.

There have been 88 missile tests in his time. Last year, there were 24. This year, there are already 22. And there's still a quarter of the year left to go. And this despite the fact they have had more than 10 years of U.N. sanctions against the country to try to make them stop -- Brooke.

BALDWIN: So, we know they have been stepping up their nuclear -- testing the nuclear weapons. Tell me more about how all of these programs are coming together.

FOREMAN: Well, that's really the key here.

When the North Koreans said that they had managed to miniaturize a nuclear weapon small enough that they could put it on top of one of these ICBMs, the intercontinental ballistic missiles that they're testing, initially, most of the experts and intelligence around the world said we don't believe it. We don't think they've done it.

Now they think though maybe they have. And that changes the equation, because with all of these tests, they have been steadily pushing the reach of their nuclear arsenal. So they cannot only hit allies like South Korea and Japan, but also maybe Alaska, maybe Hawaii, maybe parts of the continental United States now.

It is still from an engineering sense a huge ask to put a missile into space, bring a warhead back at some 17,000 miles an hour into the atmosphere, and get it to go toward a target and perform as expected. But with every test, they are clearly getting closer to figuring out that Rubik's Cube. And, Brooke, if they do, that can drastically change any negotiations with North Korea.

BALDWIN: Tom Foreman, thank you very much.

And as the president this morning, if you're watching his Twitter feed, pretty much saying mum on all things North Korea. Instead, he went off about this terror attack early this morning in London with still the bomber or bombers on the run. At least 29 people were injured when this bucket device exploded.

The president tweeted: "Another attack in London by loser terrorist. These are sick and demented people who were in the sights of Scotland Yard. Must be proactive."

And that forced a response from Theresa May, the British prime minister.


THERESA MAY, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: I never think it is helpful for anybody to speculate on what is an ongoing investigation. As I have just said, the police and security services are working to discover the full circumstances of this cowardly attack and to identify all those responsible.


BALDWIN: The British police also said the comments were not helpful. Moments ago, the president's national security adviser explained what he thought the president's tweet meant.


MATTIS: I think what the president was communicating is that, obviously, all our law enforcement efforts are focused on the terrorist threat for years.

Scotland Yard has been a leader, as our FBI has been a leader. So I think if there was a terrorist attack here, God forbid, that we would say that they were in the sights of the FBI. So, I think he didn't mean anything beyond that.

QUESTION: I'm sorry, I'm not clear, meaning he was saying generally terrorists are a focus on Scotland Yard or was he saying in a specific incident Scotland Yard knew potentially this was coming?

MATTIS: I think he means generally that this kind of activity is what we're trying to prevent.


BALDWIN: Let's go to London and CNN's Erin McLaughlin.

And at least this wasn't worse, no fatalities, no one is critical, but still, what do you know about this bomb that went off?

ERIN MCLAUGHLIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Brooke, the attack happened at 8:20 a.m., the height of morning rush hour.

The train had been cutting through, traveling through some of the more affluent neighborhoods of London. And it stopped at the tube station just over that way. The doors had opened. And according to eyewitnesses, there was a flash, a small explosion and a fire.

At least 29 people sustaining injuries. Thankfully, none of those injuries were life-threatening. No fatalities as a result of this explosion.

But the center of this investigation right now, the so-called improvised explosive device that authorities say was planted on that train, footage from inside the train shows a bucket inside of some sort of grocery bag with wires hanging out.


A security source telling CNN that authorities found inside that bucket a timer. And that raising eyebrows as a result of this investigation, because what that suggests is whoever created this device, which has been described as rudimentary, which authorities say had gone off as intended, would have caused a great deal more carnage.

Whoever created and planted that device is on the run. And tonight we understand from the London mayor a manhunt is occurring throughout the city.

BALDWIN: All right. Erin, thank you, in London.

Let's have a bigger conversation about all this.

David Catanese is with me, senior politics writer for "U.S. News & World Report." And CNN contributor Bianna Golodryga, who is also a CBS correspondent for CBS News.

Good to see both of you guys.

First things first, Bianna, just big picture, the fact that the president chose not to weigh in on this missile launch out of North Korea, which, P.S., could have went 200 miles farther than the U.S. territory of Guam, and, you know, not to say it wasn't a huge deal what happened in London. Thank goodness, it could have been way worse and wasn't, and yet he chose to essentially criticize Scotland Yard and our friends over the pond.


Well, without getting into the president's head and knowing what he was thinking, there, has been a pattern here. Every time we see any sort of terrorist attack, the president has been quick to turn to Twitter and offer his views on whether or not the government's reacting properly and what he thinks of these terrorists. The question is, and I guess the issue is, we don't know that much

about it. It's not clear whether Scotland Yard did speak with him or if his national security adviser spoke to him about what they know. But it does, at least optically, look like he's pretty quick to judge and pretty quick to give his views on what we still don't know. It could be a fluid situation.

BALDWIN: He was quick to judge this morning on what happened in the London tube station, but he wasn't in Charlottesville. Let's remember this.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: You don't make statements that direct unless you know the fact. It takes a little while to get the facts. You still don't know the facts. And it's a very, very important process to me.

And it's a very important statement. So I don't want to go quickly and just make a statement for the sake of making a political statement. I want to know the facts.


BALDWIN: David Catanese, you know where I'm going with this.


BALDWIN: I don't want to jump ahead of knowing the facts vs. this morning.

CATANESE: I mean, look, he said that because that was in his interests to explain a pretty bad situation, political situation for himself.

Look, he's a stream of conscious president. There's no way for him that he had all the facts before he was responding. This is a guy who gets up and watches cable news and he responds. He responds to what is in the news.

in the middle of touring hurricane damage, he came back and he start tweeting about Hillary Clinton because Hillary Clinton was back in the news. This is how this guy operates. And just watching Nikki Haley and H.R. McMaster's face, trying to explain it, you can tell they're pained.

They can't explain why he said it. H.R. McMaster stuttered through that, because I'm sure he's thinking, there's no way the president should have tweeted about this before he got the facts, before he talked to our ally about it.

GOLODRYGA: Yes, he was prepared to come out and talk about North Korea, not so much about those tweets.

BALDWIN: Sarah Sanders is like, welcome to my job every day. What about this reporting from "The New York Times" about President

Trump's temper and specifically the report that, you know, as soon as the A.G., Jeff Sessions, wanted to recuse himself, that then would mean there's a special counsel that was appointed, which apparently, incredibly infuriated the president, so much so, that in front of all the people at the White House, he screams at Jeff Sessions and calls him an idiot.

And I was just talking to -- interesting -- I was talking to Chris Ruddy last hour, who is a good friend of the president's, and he said to me, Brooke, the president doesn't have a temper. This is why America wants him in office. He just calls it like he sees it.

CATANESE: Well, look, to use that language, to call the guy that you made your attorney general an idiot is pretty degrading.

Look, obviously, there's just more evidence now that we know he was upset at Sessions. But most presidents would probably take Sessions aside in a meeting and talk to him. I mean, this is -- I think this goes back to the original question of stream of consciousness, the guy does not have any discipline and he is not going to change.

He's 71. He is who he is. I think we can expect this as long as he's president.

GOLODRYGA: And don't forget, there was a reason why he was upset with Sessions, because Sessions recused himself. Every legal expert says that was absolutely the right thing for him to have done.

And if the president does think that that's what ultimately led to Mueller, then why hasn't he lashed out -- or maybe he has and maybe the piece hasn't been written yet -- at Jared Kushner? And this is what happens maybe when you have family in the mix in government too.

But Bannon and a lot of other people actually lay blame with Jared Kushner as being the person who was pushing for Sessions to recuse himself and also pushing for Comey to leave.

CATANESE: It's hard to touch the son-in-law.


CATANESE: That is going to be the breaking point, if he goes after his own family.

BALDWIN: Can we go back to the Chinese food and chocolate cake night at the White House? This is the dinner with a number of Democrats, a number of people in the room, I should say, 11 people, it's my understanding.


But this was the president and Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi. We just saw in this reporting this morning out of "The Washington Post," at one point, Nancy Pelosi, I guess she wasn't getting a word in edge wise said, do the women get to talk here? Again, she was the only woman in this 11-person room. And apparently

she wasn't interrupted after that at all. But you read the detail. What did you make of what she said?

GOLODRYGA: Well, it seems like she's not the only woman who sort of is raising this issue right now. Hillary Clinton incidentally raised this issue in her book as well.

A lot about Pamela Harris and her being sort of hushed in the Senate. Look, Nancy Pelosi got very far in her career, so I don't think one could argue that being a woman kept her from getting where she was, and speaker of the House, what have you.

But I do think a lot of this is just personality. I don't necessarily think that Donald Trump would shut a man up over shutting a woman up. Clearly, he's lashed out at Sessions as well. I'm not sure he has lashed out at many women in his staff, but he doesn't have as many women in his staff.

CATANESE: His communications is all actually women in the rollout this week, Sarah Huckabee Sanders to Mercedes Schlapp.

GOLODRYGA: I'm talking about Cabinet.


CATANESE: Give him credit for the team. He's brought in women on the team.


BALDWIN: And, by the way, it's the women who have remained.


CATANESE: There are a lot of women on the team.


CATANESE: But, you know, to the Nancy Pelosi, Nancy Pelosi is no wallflower.

I did a profile of her a couple months ago, deep dive, and talked to everyone. Of course, she can speak. She's the House minority leader who has been there for 30 years. She can raise her voice in any meeting and say anything she wants.


GOLODRYGA: She apparently got the president to tweet, too.


GOLODRYGA: So, it's not as if she doesn't have power on him.

CATANESE: She did. She did have an impact on him. She totally did. BALDWIN: OK.

BALDWIN: Bianna, David, thank you both very much.

Moments from now, speaking of the president, he's about to speak at Joint Base Andrews there in Maryland. Live pictures here. Mighty patriotic on this Friday afternoon.

This is happening as the president is demanding an apology, calling out ESPN today on twitter, saying the sports network is paying a price for its politics. The White House, by the way, is standing by its call for Jemele Hill, the ESPN host, to be fired for calling Trump earlier this week on Twitter a white supremacist and a bigot.

We will hear both sides on that debate upcoming.

And just in, the cone of uncertainty, I hate to have to say this, a new update on yet another storm that is threatening the U.S.

And, again, we're still keeping a very close eye on the situation, the protests, the peaceful protests so far there in Saint Louis that are marching against the acquittal verdict today involving a white police officer who went on trial for killing a black driver.

Ryan Young is there in Saint Louis.

Stay with me. I'm Brooke Baldwin, and you're watching CNN.



BALDWIN: Donald Trump is coming for ESPN after one of its hosts called him a white supremacist and a bigot.

This morning, the president of the United States tweeted: "ESPN is paying a really big price for its politics and bad programming. People are dumping it in record numbers. Apologize for untruth."

The president referring to tweets posted by "SportsCenter" host Jemele Hill. In fact, the White House press secretary, Sarah Sanders, today calling Hill's comments a fireable offense. She said that earlier this week. And she says the White House is standing by her statement.


SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: I think the point is that ESPN has been hypocritical and they should hold anchors to a fair and consistent standard. ESPN suspended a longtime anchor, Linda Cohn, not too long ago for expressing a political viewpoint.

The network's public editor has said that there's a perception that ESPN has become political and that has harmed the network. This is clearly a political statement. They should be consistent in whatever guidelines they have set themselves in that front, John.


HUCKABEE SANDERS: I'm sorry, guys. I'm going to try to keep moving so I can cover as much ground as possible.


QUESTION: Do you stand by your statement of the other day when you said what that Jemele Hill did was a fireable offense?

HUCKABEE SANDERS: I do. And, again, I think that they laid that out themselves by suspending one of their own anchors for political comments.


BALDWIN: Keith Reed, former ESPN senior writer, who knows and has worked with Jemele Hill, with us. Nice to see you, and Clay Travis with FOX Sports Radio and founder of

Gentlemen, good to see both of you.

And, Clay, to you first.

Of all the different columnists or even magazines in the wake of Charlottesville specifically, that have called out the president as racist, why do you think he really took this particular target on ESPN and Jemele?

CLAY TRAVIS, FOX SPORTS RADIO: Well, I think because ESPN is not in the business of commenting randomly on political-related issues.

If you look at their history, they established about 18 months ago that they don't believe their people should be in involved in non- sports-related political controversy.

They suspended and then fired Curt Schilling for saying that he disagreed with the North Carolina transgender bathroom bill. And that had absolutely nothing to do with sports. And they said, look, you can't have this opinion, it is too conservative. We are not going to allow it.

I think that's a bad move. I'm a First Amendment absolutist. I believe in only two things completely, the First Amendment and boobs.

And so once they made the decision that they were not going to allow a conservative, non-sports-related commentary...


BALDWIN: Wait. Did you just say you believe in the First Amendment - and -- hold on, hold on, hold on, hold on.

I just want to make sure I heard you correctly, as a woman anchoring this show. Did you say -- what did you just say?

TRAVIS: Yes. BALDWIN: You believe in the First Amendment and B-O-O-B-S?

TRAVIS: Boobs, two things that have only never let me down in this entire country's history, the First Amendment and boobs. So, those are the only two things I believe in absolutely in the country.

And so I don't think Jemele Hill should be fired. But I do think, straight up, that once you make the decision that you were going to let Curt Schilling go, that you have to also make the decision that you're going to let Jemele Hill go.


I think that's a bad decision. I think ESPN has made bad decisions that have led to 13 million subscribers bailing on the network. They have made bad decisions that have led to ratings collapsing.

Jemele Hill's television show is collapsing. Ratings were down 20 percent last week over last year. I think that is why she's angry. I think that's why she went after Donald Trump. She's begging for ESPN to fire her, so she can work somewhere else.


Keith, what are you thinking?

KEITH REED, FORMER ESPN SENIOR EDITOR: Listen, I'm astonished at almost everything I just heard.

One of the things that -- and Jemele is a personal friend, not just a colleague, but a personal friend.

One of the things that Jemele has had to deal with her entire career, and many women who I'm friends with in this business and have been friends with in this business for a long time, is sexism, blatant sexism, comments about her appearance, comments about her racially, comments about her inability or perceived inability to be able to comment on sports because of her gender.

So, for somebody to come on CNN and to say something like the only thing I believe in, and the discussion about...


BALDWIN: I'm just -- I'm still there, too.

And I just want to make sure I'm you hearing correctly.

B-O-O-Z-E or B-O-O-B-S?

Because, as a woman, I'm -- I'm...

TRAVIS: I said boobs. I believe completely in the First Amendment and in boobs. Those are the only two things I believe 100 percent in, in this country.

And, by the way, Jemele has -- absolutely nothing to do her background at all.


BALDWIN: Why are you sitting here live on CNN speaking...


TRAVIS: Immediately -- did you notice that? He went straight to that.

REED: Yes. You're absolutely right. I did go straight to that.


BALDWIN: Why would you even say that live on national television? And with a female host, why would you even go there?

TRAVIS: I say it live on the radio all the time, because it's true, and that's what I do, because I like boobs and the First Amendment, which is exactly what I said.

REED: Listen, Brooke, I think that speaks for itself. I love the First Amendment as well. I also love women.


TRAVIS: You don't love boobs, too?

REED: As one who truly -- I'm not going to talk about that on television, because it's irrelevant to the topic. It shouldn't be brought up here.

TRAVIS: Why not?

REED: I'm a supporter of women in their careers.

I'm a supporter and a staunch supporter of women like Brooke, who I have shared the airwaves with before, and like Jemele, who is a personal friend of mine for a long time.


BALDWIN: I'm done. I'm sorry. I'm done.

REED: And to have her anatomy brought up, to have anyone's anatomy brought up in this conversation, completely...


BALDWIN: I'm done. This is done. This conversation over, yanking mikes. Bye. See you.

That was entirely inappropriate.

And it just took me -- forgive me that it took me a second. It like live television happens, and you think you hear something, but you are not entirely sure. And then you realize it happened.

So, I apologize for him in that.

Let's move on.

As we wait for President Trump to speak live at Joint Base Andrews, the White House says it will lay out its specific priorities on immigration in the next seven to 10 days.

This comes as the president has been waffling about a deal with Democrats to keep the dreamer program. We will get reaction from the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce president, who says he quit the president's diversity council over the DACA policy.